The Dallas Mavericks have been on a roll these past couple of weeks, as the team has won 10 of their last 12 games including Thursday’s night lost to the Phoenix Suns. Some highlights of the team include holding most of holding their opponents to under 100 points, the contribution of role players and the label of being a top five defense in the league.
If you take a look at the two loses, it isn’t that bad. The first lost during these past couple of games came against the New York Knicks on January 12th. There the team shot 21 percent from threes and struggled to get any help beyond Jalen Brunson and Luka Doncic.
Same scenario occurred on Thursday when the team fell by eight points to the Suns. There the squad hit 29 percent of their threes and did not get help past their big three ( Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Brunson).
However, could one of their own players be holding the team back?
Tm Hardaway has been a blessing for the team, these past couple of seasons.
But could it be time to move on from him?
Let us first look at this season.
During the 2021-2022 campaign, Hardaway Jr is averaging 14.6 points per game. Compare that to last season and his point percentage has dropped by two points. Connect that to his three-point shooting this season and the numbers have dropped even more. Last season he hit 39 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, but this NBA year he is at a mere 33 percent.
So could be the root cause for this slump?
It is really hard to say, but during the team’s 12 game spree Hardaway Jr. has only contributed to a certain extent.
In four of those games, he hit under 36 percent of hit shots. Date back to the team’s January 3rd win against the Denver Nuggets. In the game he made two of his eight shots and went 25 percent from the arc. Fast forward to January 15th against the Orlando Magic. The shooting guard hit four of his 13 attempts.
Contrast that to the following two games and well it was an up and down hill. Against the Oklahoma City Thunder Hardaway Jr. made 28 percent of his shots, where as the game after he went off by hitting seven of hit 10 baskets.
So what is the real problem?
The guard’s inconsistency is what is hurting the team the most.
In the two most recent loses he scored just under 13 points.
If you watched the Sun’s game he missed two shots in the final two minutes that would have either tied it all up or brought the game within scoring distance.
If you remember, this past offseason the Mavs signed him to a 4 year 70 million dollar contract.
The expectation was for him to move into the the third scoring role behind Doncic and Porzingis.
That role has now been filled by the rejuvenated Brunson.
When the team first traded for the guard, they hoped for him to flourish into the Knicks star who averaged 19 points a game during the 2018-2019 season.
As of late his name has been thrown around in trade rumors.
It will be interesting to see what Nico Harrison and Marc Cuban decide if anything to do with Hardaway Jr.
There are days where he has proven to be a blessing at times, but a burden others.
Mavs fans can only hope Hardaway Jr. can prove his doubters wrong.